Saturday afternoon saw the latest of numerous occasions when Shane Long has given Newcastle United the run around.
A constant menace with his pace and movement, Shane Long walked through the feeble United midfield and defence to effectively win the game in the fourth minute.
Newcastle have been linked with the now Southampton striker a number of times in the past – but many people seem to have forgotten that Alan Pardew made perfectly clear why NUFC wouldn’t buy the forward.
What Pardew had to say about Shane Long was very illuminating and gave us all a great insight into just why the transfer policy is so disastrous at St James Park.
It was the summer transfer window of 2014, the one where Newcastle swooped for bargains such as Emmanuel Riviere, Siem de Jong, Facundo Ferreyra and Remy Cabella from France, Holland and the Ukraine – spending some £25m in the process.
Alan Pardew was quizzed about why Newcastle weren’t buying players, especially strikers, currently playing in England and this was what he said about the domestic transfer maket on 23 August 2014:
“The limitations in the forward market are very easy to see.
“Jordan Rhodes has gone (for £12m to Hull) and the price of the lad from West Brom (£12m Shane Long to Southampton via Hull) and the boy who went to Fulham (£11m Ross McCormack).
“Do we want to bring a player like that to this football club? I don’t think so.
“So we have to be conscious of trying to get a player that is right for us and who is good enough for us.
“With all due respect to those guys I don’t think they are good enough for us.”
Jordan Rhodes’ move to Hull broke down at the last minute and he stayed at Blackburn until Middlesbrough picked him up in January for around £10m, to try and help get them over the line into the Premier League (Boro now four points clear of third with only five games left).
Both Rhodes and McCormack are untried in the Premier League but have scored 84 in 160 and 66 in 129 (Championship starts) in recent seasons – whilst playing for mediocre teams not challenging for promotion.
However, Shane Long has now played the last five years in the Premier League and at the time of Alan Pardew’s comments, was 27 years old and had played for three seasons at the top level.
He isn’t an out and out centre-forward like the other two named above but he is exactly the kind of player Newcastle have been crying out for season after season.
A versatile and quick player who can play all across the front line/midfield and weighs in with his share of goals.
It is quite incredible to have such a dismissive attitude of a proven Premier League player such as Shane Long, in favour of gambles on mediocre players such as Riviere and Cabella from a weaker league. Particularly when the evidence was there in front of NUFC eyes as far back as December 2011 when Shane Long gave Coloccini and others a torrid time at St James Park, when West Brom beat Pardew’s United 3-2.
Signing somebody like Aleksandar Mitrovic is fine but with him coming from a weaker league, only 20 years of age when he arrived and not the most mobile – how much better would it have been to see a proven Premier League hard working forward/attacking midfielder such as Shane Long buzzing around him?
In a similar vein, another proven older hard working attacking player who scores and created goals, as well as buzzing around the pitch, is Steven Naismith. His signing in January has been key to Norwich putting distance between themselves and Newcastle/Sunderland – the match at Carrow Road seeing him cause Newcastle all kinds of problems as Norwich should have had the game sewn up by half-time.
There is an arrogance about Newcastle United under Mike Ashley and nowhere is this seen more than the transfer window, where the very odd success with players such as Cabaye and Debuchy (who were already established mature players when Newcastle bought them), have proved rare exceptions to the rule of failure when shopping overseas for ‘bargains’ with high resale values.
As Alan Pardew (and his former boss Mike Ashley) would say…
“Do we want to bring a player like that to this football club? I don’t think so.”